Friday, November 24, 2017

Herb Geller Quartet - Alone Together

Herb Geller, alto sax
Lorraine Geller, piano
Curtis Counce, bass
Lawrence Marable, drums

Happy Go Lucky 

Jocks Are About The Last People Who Should Be In Charge Of Fitness In A Democracy

I don't know how old the other Eschatots who joined in with Stupy in snarking about what I said about the militaristic content in Jack Kennedy's promotion of President's Council on Physical Fitness, as well as the emphasis on sports are.   I know Stupy was around then, as I was, apparently he wasn't paying attention because I remember it was one of the strongest parts of it.

I was looking for the text of Kennedy's 1960 article, The Soft American, published in Sports Illustrated, but couldn't find the text.  I did find that someone read it on a Youtube, so even the post-literate Eschaton crowd might be able to follow it.

Though in the article there is a very, very brief disavowal of the Spartan view of physical vigor as being primarily for the purpose of military victory, Kennedy then put his program exactly in those terms, as a means of defeating communism militarily.   It's hardly the only emphasis on the military benefits of fitness.  He also notes the earlier program of President Eisenhower, which was explicitly founded to encourage national fitness as a military asset.

I would call your attention to the, no doubt well meaning, reader of the article's logo and the Kennedyesque, military name of his effort, "The Lean Berets",

In his comments after reading the article, he talks a lot about the military desirability of having higher fitness in the American population.

As an observation, how does a skull, a dead, decayed, EMPTY head, symbolize fitness?   I've seen a skull logo used that way before in and around one of the more repulsive and cult like commercial fitness corporations.   What's with that?   Considering what football and some other sports do to brains......

In Kennedy's article he deplored how even with all of the emphasis and resources given to athletics in the United States, that Americans were becoming unfit.   I would say that that kind of presentation of fitness through athletic games is probably guaranteed to produce those results because athletics is always about the few who excel and win and is a lot less interesting and attractive to the many who don't excel and win.  Jocks like Kennedy, like Obama, love sports because they have that particular talent, most people don't and never will and lots of us find the coercion to participate in sports when we were young about as big a turn off as there could be.   Jocks are about the last people who should be entrusted with a general program to promote health and physical fitness, the fitness shouldn't be for military conquest or the metaphorical equivalent in sports, it should be personal well being.  Jocks don't often get that, they're mostly interested in the winners, not most of us.   Among other things that is obvious in the long, post-war efforts to promote general fitness in the American population, that approach has failed, utterly and absolutely.   To hell with sports, they're a good walk ruined.

Update:  I should have added that the "fitness through athletic competition" emphasis is bound to not appeal to the many who think that sports is friggin boring and stupid.   I have never, once, thought there was anything interesting or important about who got a ball somewhere.  Or in who did it more times or with fewer strokes, etc.  Sports are somewhere below ballet as an intellectual endeavor.  And ballet is probably the stupidest of the arts.

Slavery And Racism In Early Maine Documented

At my brother's house, over the holiday, I read a wonderful recently published book,  Lives of Consequence: Blacks in Early Kittery and Berwick in the Massachusetts Province of Maine by Patricia Q. Wall, the first scholarly investigation of slavery in York County, Maine, the area we grew up and still live in.

From the foreword

Based on careful research conducted over many years by Patricia Q. Wall, this book presents the first detailed look at the lives of more than four hundred Black individuals who lived in Kittery and Berwick, Maine, from the seventeenth century until about 1820. Pat has patiently combed the available public and private documents to find whatever scraps of information had been recorded about these African Americans. Because most lived their lives in the shadows of the historical record, much has been lost. As Pat reveals, however, in addition to the personal trajectories of their own lives, they also played important roles in the life of their towns. Thanks to her research, we have a much better understanding of the importance of the Black, Native American, and mixed-race populations in southern Maine, both in qualitative and quantitative terms. We congratulate Pat on her research and are proud to publish her work. As a pioneering modern social historian, she has shed light on an important but largely ignored subject.

The book deals with what must be the largest part, if not all, of the existing documentary record documenting the existence of slavery, the scant documentation of the lives of those enslaved and the few who managed to become free, the identity of the enslavers and the importance of even the small number of slaves in what was became the early history of European communities in Maine.

Most interesting is her documentation of the few named slaves (many are referred to in documents without their names and, in some cases, even gender being recorded) about whom something is knowable.  One, William Black, was able to somewhat establish himself as a property owner who must have had a similar footing with many of the English and Scottish residents of the two towns covered in her study.  And there is "Black Sarah" enslaved by the Lord family who is largely known through a somewhat romanticized (and patronizingly racist), 19th century account of her as told from the Lord Family history as well as several contemporaneous documents.   The names and lives known so partially would seem to attest to intelligent, strong personalities who must have endured and overcome enormous difficulties requiring maturity and tact in almost superhuman abundance.

Also interesting is Ms. Wall's observations on clues that slavery, in practice, persisted even after legal emancipation of slaves in Massachusetts by court ruling in 1783,  (Maine was a part of Massachusetts until 1820) and that by then racism and discrimination had replaced formal slavery as a means of oppressing Black people.  Having grown up in the area, I was interested to see that slaves were owned by a family whose descendants (or at least those closely related to the enslavers) were among the most viciously racist people around here. 

The book is very well written and quite good history, my brother, who majored in history though isn't a practicing historian, is a friend of the author.    Coming during my re-reading of Wendell Phillips' book and considerations of how the slave power, in collusion with Northern commercial interests perverted and deformed what should have been egalitarian democracy, the book is as important to understanding that as the Wendell's observations.   Ms. Wall's book is published by Portsmouth Marine Society books and can be ordered through a link given at the site.

Ms. Wall asks the question of where the descendants of those enslaved Black people went and sadly notes that the largest number of them apparently left, forced out of the area they and their ancestors had helped create out of the wilderness that was here.  It's a question I'd heard asked.  She notes that in one of the towns, freed blacks had been driven out on the excuse that they'd likely become dependents on the town, it would be interesting to note if any white people were driven out on that excuse.

On a happier note, I know that at least one of the families with the infamy of having had slave owners in its past  now has Black members through marriage and grandchildren, though I won't mention the dual heritage to them.   Old, viciously racist  Aunt "P". died about ten years ago, she's the one of those I referred to above.   I've seen even rather strong racists have to learn something when their grandchildren are Black.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The Kitty Monologues

The great Patricia Routledge.
Let me see if I understand this, Duncan Black puts up a post that says 

"Thanksgiving Robot Shopping.   Everybody needs a robot vacuum cleaner" 

with an Amazon link to one and someone in his audience buys him one?   What's he going to use all that vacuuming free time for, writing?   Or does he get a kickback for everyone who buys one through that link?   And what are all those Eschatots going to do with all their freed-up time, read his posts?   

Geesh, if ten people tell me they'll give me ten bucks I'll put up a begging link, if I can find one that doesn't make me feel tainted with supporting someone like Peter Thiel who I just loathe with more bile than all the gallbladders in the world produce.   I'll use the leisure it buys to write better posts and more of them.  There are a lot of papers I'd love to be able to afford to read.  

On Today Of All Days - And Yet They Doubt The Reality of Synchronicity

After posting the late Barbara Cook singing selections from Meredith Willson's magnum opus, The Music Man, I did a little more reading about him.  Just now I found out he wrote and conducted this 1962 classic,  President Kennedy's fitness program's official theme song.

That's Robert Preston's voice, apparently this was composed and recorded during the making of the movie of The Music Man, using the same resources in the movie for the recording. 

How could it not be someone leading me to this information on today's festival of fat, packing on the pounds and vicarious sloth millions sitting in easy chairs watching seriously obese and brain damaged men in a human, drug fueled crash derby?

I don't have fond memories of Kennedy's shaming and coercive sports and competition centered promotion of physical fitness, it had more than a slight amount of militarism about it, as well.  Clearly, it didn't work.   Last time I saw the football star from my high school years, he had about the same shape as Trump.  It was the band members who were more likely to keep their weight down, though I wasn't in that, either.

Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau - Jazz in Marciac 2011


0:00 - Note to Self
10:35 - To Hold On or to Let Go
22:12 - Dream Brother
35:10 -  Oleo

I can't resist adding that Brad Mehldau has two of the most perfect piano hands I've ever seen, it's a pleasure to watch his hands.

What Do Musicians Like To Listen To?

Unqualified praise and admiration from people who know what they're talking about.  Same as everyone else.  

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sigmund Romberg - Lover Come Back To Me - Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington, trumpet
Clifford Brown trumpet
Maynard Ferguson, trumpet
Clark Terry, trumpet
Max Roach, drums)
Keeter Betts, bass
George Morrow,  bass
Richie Powell, piano
Junior Mance, piano
Harold Land, tenor sax,
Herb Geller, alto sax

I'm not sure who is playing on this but this is the personnel on the album.  I just about certain that Clifford Brown is playing on it.  Who is playing piano or bass, that I don't know.

No More Anonymous Accusations In The Media

To hell with that,  if Huffington Post is going to publish accusations made by anonymous people who don't want to identify themselves, they aren't any better than Breitbart.   Anonymous accusations should be suspect up and until the people making them are willing to put their names on the actuations.  For all anyone knows they're in the pay of the Mercers or Kochs or Sheldon Adelson or Vladimir Putin.  

That the accusations are alleged to have been made by women is irrelevant, people have an absolute right to know their accusers, especially if the incidents alleged happened when the accusers were adults, not children.  Anonymous accusers are rightly suspected of lying. 

Joshua Redman Quartet - Obsession

Joshua Redman – tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Brad Mehldau – piano
Christian McBride – bass
Brian Blade – drums

My brother is a HUGE Joshua Redman fan, I'm at his house for Thanksgiving (we and his daughter are the only three vegetarians in my family) and I can assure you this will join my previous personal Thanksgiving tradition of listening to the CRI recording of William Bolcom's devastating and prophetic Piano Quartet


Simps is Demented

I have never, in typing, in writing, in speaking in interpretive dance (apologies to those who may have not eaten their dinner yet), ever expressed any opinion about Wayne Cochran.  

I say lots of things and give lots of opinions, I don't know why he has to invent ones for me to have said which I not only have never said but about which it wouldn't occur to me to have an opinion.  

The geezer is senile. 

Barbara Cook sings The Music Man

As an official hater of musicals, I've always made an exception for The Music Man, but mostly for it as sung by the original Marion.   Till There Was You  isn't my favorite song from the score but what a voice.

The barbershop quartet are The Buffalo Bills.

Francois Couperin - Huitieme Ordre de Pièces de Clavecin

Olivier Baumont, Harpsichord

Score Starting at page 57 of the pdf

All of that French lute music, those French passacaglias, made me think of probably the most famous of them all, the last movement of this suite by Francois Couperin, one of the greatest of all keyboard composers. 

What's It With All Of This Thanksgiving Family Fight Crap?

Being Irish from New England, my family is VERY political, all with one or two exceptions, moderate to liberal but, as liberals are wont to be, far from unanimous in our very strongly held opinions on various issues.   There are Republicans in our family but they are mostly among cousins we don't see much of and uncles and aunts now dead, and a few in-laws, now mostly divorced.  

I don't remember there ever being a fight over politics at a Thanksgiving table in my family and some of our smaller family gatherings at Thanksgiving have had more than twenty at table, the largest ones I remember had about 60, though we don't do that anymore.  Yet I don't remember there ever being that kind of fight over politics or other issues of the kind that I'm hearing about all over the radio and reading about online.  I don't know if it's because our family Thanksgivings have been pretty much alcohol free - though when I drank I used to have one or, at the most, two gins, neat to prepare myself for the ordeal, such as it was.   I don't remember being raised with inordinate strictness but apparently we were brought up to have manners, which also comes as a surprise.  I thought we were little brats. 

Or is it that all of this Thanksgiving family fight stuff just media filler, bull shit to fill up air-headed air-time with,  like the same kind of thing about fruitcake a couple of decades back.  I never understood, if they didn't like fruitcake, why they didn't just not eat it.  Or are they too stupid to realize that's an option?  Our media does lots of stupid, it's what they do, mostly, these days.   

Believe Any Accusation Made Against Chris Cillizza, He Says It's The Thing To Do From "America's Most Trusted Source for 'News'"

The ever more clearly orchestrated accusations of minor naughtiness against Al Franken, to date:

- that during a rehearsal for a comedy skit that Leeann Tweeden didn't like how the kiss went,

-  a naughty "boys on the bus" stunt photo of him making sleazy gestures against the kevlar vest she was wearing while asleep, 

- one woman says he touched her buttocks as her husband was taking a picture of them together at the Minnesota state fair, 

has turned into a media  frenzy which is not without its own political dimensions, especially among those "both sides" venues, such as CNN and NPR, which always end up with Democrats being held to entirely higher standards than they will ever hold Republicans too.  

CNN's Chris Cillizza put up a piece in which he turns Al Franken's decision to not go on cabloid TV over the accusations into a kind of simulation of evidence of guilt.  I, though, think that what Cillizza did in the piece is a good example of how CNN, as a pioneer of the destructive 24-7 need to fill up air time of cabloid news,  led the way for the current practice of turning reasonable behavior by innocent people into "evidence" of their guilt and of whipping up charges against someone who is, at worst, guilty of a very low level of offense into a "scandal", something which has been done almost exclusively against Democrats and liberals.  I'll go over how he does that.

In the wake of radio host Leeann Tweeden's accusation that Franken kissed her without her consent and fondled her breasts while she was asleep during a 2006 USO Tour they both were featured on, Franken told reporters this: "I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann. As to the photo, it was clearly intended to be funny but wasn't. I shouldn't have done it."

That "apology" was met with universal disdain -- even in Democratic circles -- and so Franken quickly put out another, much longer statement. "I respect women," Franken said in it. "I don't respect men who don't. And the fact that my own actions have given people a good reason to doubt that makes me feel ashamed."

First, I don't remember any "universal disdain" I remember an orchestrated, hardly universal campaign to feign disdain for it perhaps with some of that being somewhat sincere.   If someone is not guilty of what they're accused of or the accusation is of a very minor order of boorish behavior, the level of apology that Al Franken issued is entirely appropriate and sufficient.  It might not help the staff of CNN fill up empty headed air time, of the kind CNN and FOX and most of the cabloid networks deal in, but no one, even a politician, is required to conduct their personal conduct so as to make the job of cabloid executives and producers easy.  

The subsequent revelations of, most importantly, the obvious Republican ratfucker involvement of ratfuckers like Roger Stone and, later Mike Cernovich in the operations against Franken and other Democrats being accused.  That,  as well as the subsequent far sleazier behavior of Leeann Tweeden*  during the same and other USO tours and her subsequent, hardly disgusted, behavior towards Al Franken and her media general profile all point to this being a whipped up charge for ulterior motives.  The woman who complained that Al Franken touched her buttocks as the woman's husband was not only present but taking a picture that could document the encounter clearly wanted to get on CNN and other such media.  I don't know if her politics or her past political activity is known but that is certainly relevant to judging the nature of an incident which seems to have not been noticed by her husband who was watching it and recording it for posterity.  

Cillizza's method of ramping this kind of thing up into evidence of guilt is also seen in this part of his piece:

Franken issued another statement to CNN to deal with this latest accusation. "I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture," Franken told CNN. "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."

No one has seen hide nor hair of Franken since last Thursday when the news about Tweeden broke. Aside from those handful of statements, he's said nothing else about the allegations against him. And he's taken no questions.

What Franken is doing here is obvious. He is letting the statement he released last week in the wake of the first allegations stand. He's not adding to it, re-opening it or relitigating it.

Which may be inconvenient for Republican scandal mongers and their witting or witless allies in the cabloid media, BUT IT IS ENTIRELY REASONABLE BEHAVIOR FOR AN INNOCENT PERSON OR ONE WHO HAS BEEN ACCUSED FALSELY OR IS THE FOCUS OF A MISUNDERSTANDING. 

Cillizza continues in a way which exposes the media scandal mongers' methods even more sharply. 

And, he's hoping that with Congress out of session this week for Thanksgiving recess -- and the country less focused on work than their turkey day plans -- that this whole thing blows over (or loses some of its heat) before next week. Franken's move to self-refer his conduct to the Senate Ethics Committee is another way of taking some of the immediacy from all of this. The ethics committee is not exactly the world's swiftest when it comes to meting out justice.

Which is a probably a smart political strategy. But, it's beyond hypocritical for Franken, who has been an outspoken critic of other men accused of sexually inappropriate behavior, to simply bunker in and hope the storm passes. And Democrats shouldn't stand for it.

Oh, for crying out loud.  From what I've read Al Franken has the distinction of being the first Senator to publicly call for himself to be made the focus of the Senate Ethics Committee, to ascribe the cynical motives that Cillizza does to that, by a media figure is disgusting.   It is to try to turn an unprecedented, voluntary call to subject oneself to an investigation into some kind of proof of guilt.  

The whining accusation that Franken volunteering to go through what will, no doubt, be an unpleasant ordeal of questioning and certainly leaking by Republicans and having cabloid shitheads like Cillizza and others into a strategy where there would be no strategic advantage gained EXCEPT BY SOMEONE WHO IS INNOCENT OF THE ACCUSATIONS.  

The now many incidents of persecution of Democrats and just private citizens by CNN, FOX and the media that has followed their lead into the trash journalism standards of the tabloids reveal a lot about the practices that have lead American journalism into the sewer and, concurrently and consciously promoted the strategies of the worst of Republican-fascism.  I mentioned the early case of Richard Jewell whose life was destroyed by the Louis Freeh era FBI and its allies in the media, from once considered high end to the low end of tabloid-cabloid libel and slander.   

The assertion by Cillizza that there is something untoward about Al Franken requesting to be investigated by the Senate Ethics process in which the conclusions will be based on evidence in the public record is about as disgusting an idea  as has come out of the 24-7 cabloid world.  Instead he is calling for this to be decided by the practices of cabloid TV, Twitter and Facebook which are entirely open to the use of ratfuckers such as the cabloids and Buzzfeed are apparently turning to for content. 

You'd better be careful for what you ask for because, with this, Cillizza and CNN should be considered fair game and I don't mean for stories of sex scandal of even the low end variety that has set off the absurd insistence by even some otherwise rational people that Al Franken should resign because if that's how you want to conduct things all friggin' hell has been set loose. 

I am a total and complete believer in processes that are set up to gather and test evidence and, in the many cases that is possible, to come to something like an ideally objective conclusion about where that tested evidence leads.   I was in favor of it for people I don't like and even dislike such as Michael Shermer and Bill Cosby and even for politicians and journalists I despise.  Though I am also in favor of politicians and journalists who want to be able to violate the rights of other people in the way the media does when it's even the flimsiest or most obviously cooked up accusation against Democrats to be dealt with by their own practices.   CNN and the rest of the cabloid cancer on journalism will have to be held to the same standards they practice in which any false accusation that is made for even the most obvious of political purposes are held to be true, sometimes even in the face of a total lack of evidence.  From now on, any lie that is spread about Chris Cillizza should be handled under Cillizza's rules, in which he is presumed to be guilty maybe even if proven innocent.  I'm an even bigger fan of the rules applying to those who make them.  

*  When the behavior of someone like Leeann Tweeden, involving exactly the kind of behavior she is complaining about proves that she engaged in the same kind of thing, kissing strangers, groping them, making sleazy moves for public display, their behavior becomes entirely and fairly relevant to the issue.  The immediate and rote claim that such behavior is always to be held irrelevant is not sustainable.   As I said, the sexy pictures of her, alone, at the instruction of photographers and others is not relevant to the accusations, her own photographed and filmed behavior during USO tours and elsewhere as well as her current media associations and appearances are entirely relevant to judging the claims she made.   The groping and dirty dog photos of her on stage are as relevant as the photograph of Franken reaching for the kevlar vest she had on.   Those wanting to use that against Franken don't get to claim that her behavior is irrelevant to the accusations she made.  

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Arnold Schoenberg - Phantasy For Violin And Piano, Op.47

Joseph Silverstein, violin
Gilbert Kalish, piano

I wish they would release a disc of Silverstein playing the Schoenberg concerto with the Boston Symphony from when he was concertmaster.   It was one of the greatest concerto performances I ever heard. 

Little Milton & Jimmie Vaughn - That's What Love Will Make You Do

That's Jimmie Vaughn introducing Little Milton as the greatest blues singer, not to be confused with his brother, Stevie Ray Vaughn.  As one of the comments at Youtube points out, the Vaughn brothers were both really classy when it came to treating their colleagues with respect, standing in the background to them.  You can contrast that with how Mick said,  "These legendary characters wouldn't mean a light commercially today if groups were not going round Britain doing their numbers."  And the content of Little Milton's song with the racist misogynistic sexism of so many of the Stones songs.

Monday, November 20, 2017

How To Avoid Being Accused of Groping Someone

1. Don't touch anyone who is not very closely related to you unless it is to shake their hand.  

2.  Don't touch strangers unless it is to shake their hand, don't even put your other hand on their arm while you're doing it  Don't hold on past two shakes like that ultimate creep, Trump. 

3.  Is that hard to understand?  

While it's no guarantee that you won't be accused falsely, it would help if you were known as a hands-off type of guy.  

Nothing Simps Says Should Be Believed Without Confirmation, The Simplest Distinctions Can't Make It Through His Trump Like Mind

What is the difference between Beatles, Stones etc, and Minstrelry? Minstrels never convinced anybody they were black, either.  Leroi Jones

Literally everything I've ever said online about Stevie Ray Vaughn is contained in two posts.  You can read them and the comments and see that Simps is lying about what I said. 

He apparently doesn't realize that Mick Jagger was notorious for copying black (and white) musicians well after they released their first album, which is pretty funny considering he's supposed to be a pop music expert.  Simps really never did master the idea of how time works.  Apparently he figures Mick and his old stones never did anything but repeat their first album, over and over again.  As the article at the link shows, they stole lots of stuff after that.

Update:  Hey, if he keeps it up at this rate, the lies he's dropped on me are going to outnumber the names he's dropped.  He's the worst name dropper I've ever seen.